MSU women’s basketball falls to No. 18 Michigan, 77-67


Sarah Smith

Mo Joiner drives into the lane during Michigan State’s 77-67 loss to No. 18 Michigan on February 5, 2023. Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Jay DeCoster, Women's Basketball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – In the latest chapter of the Michigan State versus Michigan rivalry, the Michigan State women’s basketball team (11-12) came up short, in a 77-67 loss to the No. 18 ranked Michigan Wolverines (19-5) on Sunday afternoon at the Breslin Center.  

MSU started off the contest red hot, with a 10-0 run highlighted by 3-pointers from senior guard  Moira Joiner and sophomore guard Matilda Ekh. 

“Our first quarter was exactly the way we wanted to play that game,” said MSU interim head coach Dean Lockwood. “We wanted to pressure, we wanted to move the ball, and we got great looks.”

The Wolverines would battle back and cut the lead to 21-15 by the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, Michigan State struggled to find points, as the Wolverines went on a 6-0 run to tie the game for the first time. The Spartans started to regain momentum, with a couple of threes made by Julia Ayrault and Matilda Ekh. MSU went into the locker room up 40-33 at halftime. 

Michigan started the second half by scoring eight of the first nine points to tie the game. Graduate guard Leigha Brown hit a 3-pointer to give the Wolverines their first lead of the contest. 

Brown finished the game with a double-double of 29 points and 12 rebounds. 

“She [Leigha Brown] thrives in these moments and she wants the ball in her hands in these moments,” said Michigan head coach Kim Barnes Arico. “She does a great job of drawing fouls and making everyone else on our team feel extremely confident.”

Michigan also got contributions from senior guard Maddie Nolan, who had 22 points.

Despite being outscored 23-15 in the third quarter, MSU only trailed 56-55 heading into the fourth quarter. A highlight reel moment came at the end of the period when sophomore guard DeeDee Hagemann hit a half-court buzzer-beater. 

Hagemann played all 40 minutes of regulation in the loss, finishing with 11 points and 9 assists. 

The fourth quarter featured a dominant Michigan performance. The Wolverines’ defense began to take control, with the Spartans only going 5-for-23 from the field. The Michigan lead swelled to as much as 13 in the late stages of the game. 

“We were missing shots and we were struggling, and rather than getting back to who we were, we deviated from that,” Lockwood said. 

Michigan State will be on the road against Wisconsin on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m.